resting and returning

resting and returning

Hello friends.

I am full of joy and expectation to be writing again in this space.

I was unsure about returning this summer. As I began my break, it was apparent, I was more exhausted than envisioned. I felt empty of words and couldn’t see a clear path or direction before me. It is a huge disservice to attempt to manufacture content, a pause was wise and beneficial. 

Resting is vitally essential for all of us.  Somehow I had succumbed to a belief that the collective shut down of life was restful. I had slowed down but the constant changing tides of any given day took a toll.  I pushed back many of my emotions related to the pandemic and racial tensions to the background and kept going. 

I say to you today, don’t mistake this time of being less busy with outside of the home pursuits as any less taxing. We all need time to reflect, grieve, process, and reassess. Even usual summertime activities are different than in the past. We have lost our care-free existence and spontaneity and I am guessing even if this wasn’t a normal bent, it would be welcomed right now. 

My time away from this blog didn’t feel different during the first two weeks. Life continued with more in-person gatherings with my children but even being in the company of my nearest and dearest still brings an element of feeling risky and foreign. We spent a few days in two cabins along the Columbia Gorge, a precious family memory. We felt safe and secluded and did not take for granted the blessing of those days. We had our masks when we did venture into any area with people which was twice on a waterfall hike and to pick up take-out one evening.

I woke up early each morning to spend time with God and to simply watch the water from the deck. It wasn’t easy to rouse my sleepy self but the steadiness of keeping rhythms, no matter what, has deepened in me. It was a gift to be away from home and endeavoring to not squander a moment. However, not a lot of words were written except for some scribbles in my journal.

Then my guys went camping and this was the first time I had more than an hour in our home alone since March. I adore my people but I crave silence and solitude and they know it. The anticipation of words and fear of none appearing were my companions. I have learned and this time was no exception, the words come but not on command. It takes time to surrender to silence and slow the pleading pulse of anticipation. 

Ever land on the most brilliant idea when soaped up in the shower without a pen at hand? Being silent allowed me to hear again and mostly when I wasn’t thinking about writing. 

Since March, I have asked God to entrust me with words like He gave manna to the Israelites in the wilderness. I am learning to trust He will give me just enough words for each week. Although I now have a page full of bullet points, I know all the thoughts could turn into a solitary post. It’s disappointing as I long to be “ahead” but it’s truly the way of the Master to dispense what I need. I can view this as crumbs when in reality it is a basketful of bread, broken with plenty to share.

We live in an upside-down world.  It’s difficult to behold beauty but also stare straight into the realities of despair and heartbreak. My nasturtiums have been growing along our fence with gusto with flowers erupting in colors beyond the typical yellows and oranges. But this week, I turned over a few leaves, only to find tightly affixed black dotted clusters of bugs. I know these pesky bugs from past seasons and can never rid my plants of them before they choke out life. I have two options. I can ignore the bugs pretending they don’t exist until they spread to every plant, creating mass casualties. Or I can gently remove the infected leaves and in some cases plants, protecting the healthy ones.

I am fighting for joy in the midst of despair and wading through misinformation. I am choosing to not ignore the brutal parts of life and doing what I can do when life feels out of control. Sometimes it is simply to take a deep breath, whisper a prayer, and unclench my jaw and hands. I look to the shades of my flowers knowing there are forces that can and at times want to assault my joy and stability. I will enjoy them at the moment without fear and obsessing about what might be on the underside.

I am back to living with my people again and as Oregon has declared, this will be the way for quite a while. This wasn’t a surprise but being refreshed helped me to surrender to this sustained reality.  I needed time alone however it is a mistake to believe I can’t find solitude when my home is inhabited by others. I just need to be a bit more creative.

My challenge to you is to look for patches of solitude this week. Here are some ideas to help fuel your creativity.

  • Get up early and watch the sunrise.
  • Stay up late and stargaze.
  • Watch less news.
  • Hold your phone less.
  • Watch a butterfly or a bee. 
  • Close your eyes. If you fall asleep, you needed a deeper rest.
  • It bears repeating, take a nap.
  • Pick one hour each day or even 15 minutes to simply do nothing. Let your mind wander. Allow the silence to offer a surprise landing of thoughts or ideas revealed.
  • Walk around your yard or garden. Don’t water, prune, pull a weed, or even harvest. Simply marvel at creation and hear the sound of your footsteps, the birds of the air, and the sound of your breath enlarging and also softening.
  • Seek ladybugs. Number the dragonflies.
  • Sit and watch the moon rise. In fact, make it a point to see every phase of the moon this month.
  • Blow bubbles and watch each one pop. Muse about how our days are like bubbles, fleeting, yet beautiful and full of wonder. Marvel how at any age, bubbles never cease to bring a smile and cause us to look up.
  • Sit in your favorite chair inside or outside with a frosty beverage and just be wonderful you.

Fill each day with the essentials and plenty of margins to be still and quiet. 

*****

May each day provide moments of quiet.

May we access our need for silence and solitude.

May we release the uncontrollable and embrace wonder.

May we fight for joy especially on days where it feels like we are in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 

May we know and believe, whatever the cluster of pesky bugs in our lives, it will not dismantle or steal our joy.

May we be like bubbles to one another.

 

slowing down

slowing down

Several years ago, when Caleb was in seventh grade, I had carpool duty two afternoons each week. I usually arrived early enough to relax post-work by reading, listening to music, or a podcast. One afternoon, as the group loaded their belongings into the cargo part of the car, I hadn’t turned off my music selection which was my habit. 

I started to switch the music off when in unison, everyone except Caleb(who is his mother’s frequent passenger), yelled “Hamilton! Turn it up!” I obliged and drove the next 30 minutes to a unique rendition of the musical Hamilton which repeated for several weeks until one carpool member urged for a new music selection. 

This will always be an indelible memory of how art can bridge the seemingly wide chasm between people. 

My original five watched the movie version of Hamilton at exactly midnight the moment it premiered. This might seem like overkill but we are trying to make a celebration out of anything these days, especially when we can do it in our own home.   What a treat to see the music we have loved and couldn’t get out of our heads jump to life before our eyes. 

Even my next sentence echoes Eliza’s words to Alexander (“Take a break.”) but I am going to heed them better than he did.

I am taking a break from writing on the blog for at least the rest of July. Normally, I wouldn’t make any fuss about it but so many of you dear friends wondered where Monday’s post was last week. Thanks for missing the post. 

I’ve written a lot of words since the first Monday in January. I love a good streak and I have only missed two Mondays in the past seven months. But alas, I am not meant to be a machine. We all need to remember this for ourselves and sanity.

January was the month I decided to return to writing regularly on this blog and gather words about what I was learning about slow living. “Slow” was the word I picked at the end of August as my word for my birthday year. 

I realized last Monday, my birthday was only 50 days away. What a lot of living over the course of this year and what a lot of slowing down in the second quarter of 2020.  It’s time for me to consider a new word for my upcoming birthday and continue to hold tightly to the goodness of the word “slow”. I hope to spend time journaling and fleshing out new thoughts. There is an avalanche of words out in the world right this moment, I want my words to be ones of hope, encouragement, and life-giving. 

It’s summertime. Time for a rest, lots of iced tea, and books.

The best way to know when I have returned to posting is to be subscribed to my blog. Sign-up information is found on the sidebar, thanks for your readership.

So Jesus said to his disciples, “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest awhile.” 

Mark 6: 31 (TPT)

That sounds mighty nice.

 

*****

 

May this summer bring gifts beyond measure.

May you find joy in the midst of disappointment from abandoned plans.

May you revel in offering the gift of safety to others by wearing a mask.

May God grant you health and wellness during this time of mounting statistics.

May rest and recreation hold hands with one another during this season of sunshine.

May you allow yourself to take a break.

 

rhythms

rhythms

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During the summer of 2012, I read Barbara Brown Taylor’s book An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. I have a certain fondness for books read in the summer. A book has to be enticing to lure one away from playing in the sunshine.

I was consumed with this book because it was everything I believed but didn’t have the beautiful language to convey. This blog was started in 2006 and named A Work of Heart with the tagline, paying attention to God in our midst. I wanted to write about all the ways God shows up in everyday life. Reading this book made me feel understood and embraced. It’s my deepest hope to lay down words here which more often point to God than to me. It’s the place where I get to share about the geography of my faith.

“Or I can set a little altar in the world or in my heart. I can stop what I am doing long enough to see where I am, who I am there with, and how awesome the place is. I can flag one more gate to heaven–one more patch of ordinary earth with ladder marks on it–where the divine traffic is heavy when I notice it and even when I do not. I can see it for once, instead of walking right past it, maybe even setting a stone or saying a blessing before I move on to where I am due next.”
~An Altar in the World

We have plenty of time to take notice of our surroundings and our lives now. There are no longer the perpetual distractions and busyness of appointments, events, practices, sports, etc. In many ways, we don’t have the luxury to look away and bury our thoughts in a full schedule anymore. We have the gift of being able to reflect longer and deeper than usual if we dare. 

We don’t have to redecorate our homes to make a place of refuge, a respite from the storms which rage throughout our world. It’s as simple as lighting a candle at the beginning and the end of each day. Maybe it’s pulling out the good dishes while you eat grilled cheese sandwiches and telling jokes during dinner. You could sit on your porch with a book, making sure to greet all who walk past. Or spread a blanket on your front steps and drink a favorite beverage. Yesterday, we anchored a crate to our giant maple tree along our parking strip and filled it with bottles of bubbles for passing children, hoping to impart a tiny bit of airborne joy from our home to theirs. 

In what ways can your home become a place of refuge and rest in a weary world?

Those who have loved Barbara Brown Taylor’s writing have often borrowed a question she was asked when invited to speak.

“What do you want me to talk about?” I asked him.

“Come tell us what is saving your life now,” he answered. It was if he had swept his arm across a dusty table and brushed all the formal china to the ground. I did not have to try to say correct things that were true for everyone. I did not have to use theological language that conformed to the historical teachings of the church. All I had to do was figure out how I stayed as close to that reality as I could, and then find some way to talk about it that helped my listeners figure out those same things for themselves.”

Recently, I have been closing some posts by recounting what has helped over the past week. It is the same as describing what is saving my life. 

Daily rhythms are saving my life right now. When I look over the past month, there have been productive days and days when I felt kind of crummy inside and out. There have been days the pace of a snail and other days I couldn’t believe it was time to fix dinner. 

The consistent part of my days has been maintaining, adhering to and if I am honest, running towards my rhythms. They have been an anchor during this turbulent time. I have written these ways before but repetition is the beauty of rhythms and routines. The value multiplies over time.

At night, I write in my journal documenting the day. This helps me remember and drains my brain so I can sleep. It’s kind of like how I wished I  had written down EVERY funny or cute thing my children said instead of thinking I would NEVER forget them. This is for the same reason, I will forget. I want to remember.

After I finish writing, I bring my Bible, studies, other journals (#writer problems), planner and whatever book I want to read in the morning. It could be non-fiction, fiction or a devotional book. I make a stack in front of my chair at our dining room table. Sometimes I fill a glass of water and place it on the table as well. I love cold water but sometimes room temperature water feels better in the morning. I pray, write or recite any verse I want to memorize and usually write a card to send. 

This rhythm circles my day. My end of the day rhythm helps me sleep and prepares me for the next day. The day begins in a way that brings me peace and direction for the hours ahead.  Each has become a sturdy signpost drawing my attention away from fretting. A colorful journal to remind me of the beauty in a day when the world seems to have shifted to black and white hues. A small stack of hope to help affix to my heart and mind. 

A signpost could be reading glasses to remember to read or running shoes as a nudge towards the outdoors. It might be a water bottle to stay hydrated or a sticky note with the word BREATH in bold letters. Rhythms don’t have to be complicated or take hours. Try one thing, repeat it and see if it adds value to each day. We all have rhythms whether we are conscious of them or not, now is a wonderful time to create rhythms to strengthen you now and hopefully will last way beyond this patch of time. 

 

What’s saving your life right now?

May the gift of each day, whether filled with easy or difficult parts, be anchored by rhythms to equip you with peace and stability. May your dwelling place feel like a sanctuary of rest and hope.

turning fifty

turning fifty

Birthdays are an interesting phenomenon aren’t they?

There is the prerequisite build-up until the day arrives

complete with marching band excitement and yet

once the confetti is swept up and freed from your hair,

you realize you don’t feel much differently than the day before

or even last month.

This is how turning fifty has felt.

The months leading up to this big birthday have included

celebrating friends turning 50

and they have celebrated me.

I feel incredibly

rich from the experience.

Honestly I feel like I still reside in my 40’s.

Perhaps not 40, as I had an 11 month old tyke

at the time

and sleep was elusive.

Within that expanse, I felt ancient and

my dependence was more on coffee than

eternal things.

But that is another story.

So this exchange of decade zip codes

hasn’t shifted the core of me only added

two new digits.

I want to share what I am hoping to bring

into this landscape.

There will be no mention of hills

especially going over them.

Celebration

Perhaps it is the introvert in me or that

I am a bit reserved and don’t often like

center of attention moments.

I tend to push away personal celebrations.

I have done quite a bit

of celebrating and it’s been good.

Really good.

Celebration has reached down deep into my

soul and mended some broken places I

wasn’t even aware existed.

Often I downplay the “big deals”

in my life.

I have been wrong.

Isn’t it humble to brush aside offers to celebrate?

When I have proclaimed celebrating unnecessary,

I waved a flag with stitching

revealing I wasn’t important enough to laud.

Now to some of you, this might sound

preposterous because you are always

ready to form a conga line.

For others, you recognize the depths

I describe.

You might even recall the silent ache when those big days or

occasions pass and you stumble upon

the fact that crickets are not festive

or a worthy companion.

Life in all its big and small ways

provides reason enough to raise a ruckus.

We are meant to be celebrated.

We point back to the Creator when

we raise a glass of cheer.

Let there be celebrating.

Enough

Most days begin with me at our table before

a large window with a strategically placed

bird feeder in one of the trees.

The other morning, between sips of tea and writing,

a squirrel was attacking the bird feeder.

I would pound on the glass

and the gravitational pull would hasten his return.

The feeder had been half full of suet but by the time he left to make

way for the birds, there was only a small chunk in the corner of

the cage.

Okay this ticked me off.

Do you remember this photo?

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This image was floating through my mind when birds landed

for their morning meal.

I was grousing about the shameless greed of that squirrel taking what

belonged to the birds.

Yet as I survey the birds,

I didn’t see a single one with their wings on their hips

in dismay.

They were getting their fill of food.

By the way they were sailing between feeder

and limbs, they seemed quite delighted.

There was enough.

Social media can be like a picture window

to lives we weren’t originally supposed to see.

Years ago, I wouldn’t know who got a book deal

or whose blog post was being widely circulated.

I wouldn’t have known how many exotic vacations

someone took or even what you did while I was

on the couch streaming a movie.

It wouldn’t be so easy to succumb to feeling

I don’t have enough or that I am enough.

The truth is people aren’t greedy squirrels

and none of us are going to stop posting

the beautiful moments of our days but

I want to live like a bird who considers

crumbs a feast.

We have a family saying from way back…

Be content with what God sent.

I am grabbing hold to the truth of being and

having enough until it is firmly planted solidly

in my soul.

Sometimes the best way to move forward is

to look backward.

There are two areas that continue to make my

heart beat, one faster and the other slower.

Welcome

This word has played ping-pong in my spirit

for years.

I desire to be a person of welcome.

Many times those introverted tendencies take

over but at my core, I know I was created to

be welcoming.

For my birthday,

I asked “the powers that be” namely my family for

a bench.

It is designed to accompany something special which I will share

with you soon.

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So this is me moments after Carl put the bench together.

If I am honest, I almost didn’t post this picture.

It’s not my most flattering picture,

I am not standing behind someone to show

only a partial view of me.

Our backyard grass resembles straw.

Heavens  it has been a hot summer and

I do believe any make up I was wearing has

melted.

I am learning that welcome has nothing

in common with perfection

and looking put together.

Welcome is being open to  showing your good and your

not so great sides.

Welcome is a bench made for people who are

dry in spirit,

sad, happy,

chubby, skinny,

desperate

and  weary.

I hope to sit on that bench

and I pray my neighbors will as well.

You are my neighbor.

Rest

More than any topic I wrote about on this blog,

the most read posts are the ones about rest.

I have talked about it for years because I was desperate

for rest of any kind.

A friend recently wrote me and said when she thinks of me,

she thinks of rest.

Now before you consider this clever wording as code for

meaning she finds me boring and promptly needs a nap,

it referred to conversations we’ve had about the supreme

importance of rest.

I plan to be greedy about resting and

consider yourselves warned,

I will continue to remind you as well.

Dearest 50,

You have come wrapped in packages filled

with celebration,

contentment,

welcome and rest.

Thank you for the marching orders.

May the only arthritis I bear be in my knees

and not in my heart or soul.

Deal?

Gratefully yours,

 

Helen

 

surprise landings

surprise landings

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Last Sunday, our family took a trip to the beach.

Only we never laid eyes on sand.

We were so happy all five of us could spend a day together taking in the cool breezes

and getting lost in the sound of the crashing surf.

We also wanted to take our dog to the beach for perhaps her last time

to play tag with the waves.

Five individual schedules aligned but collided with too many other details

to document here but the end result was traffic.

After two hours in the car and not making progress,

we took a quick vote and decided to try and find a lake.

Google Maps to the rescue.

We found a lake however,

it was late to find a prime spot with some shade.

We had prepared for the beach and not blazing sun.

Translation: we had grabbed sweatshirts and not sunscreen.

We had an umbrella which burrows easily in the sand but

not so well in hard soil supported by driftwood and rocks.

Once we set up “camp” very much off the beaten path,

(and we had quit our muttering)

a dragonfly landed on Carlen’s chair.

Just like my thing for ladybugs,

ditto for dragonflies.

We took pictures and selfies.

Our disappointment in the change of terrain dissipated

by a winged creature’s chance landing.

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This beauty wouldn’t leave and when the time came (Carlen wanted her seat back)

I tipped the chair and found

a tall blade of grass to hasten its departure.

We lasted only a couple of hours and the heat was really hard on

our pooch Hazel.

We drove home from a different destination than we had

envisioned but we left full of the deposit made into

our memory banks.

Now we have  lake memories to add to

the other ones of dragonflies

landing in our midst.

I wrote a post 3 years ago describing two different

dragonflies landing on our house and staying for hours

or in one case 2 days.

When I revisited this post, although I can be quite wordy,

I was extremely wordy back then.

Feel free to read those words but in case you would

like the Cliff Notes, read on.

We questioned why those dragonflies landed and remained.

The answer was revealed in a Google search in ten words.

Dragonflies need to stop and rest,

just like everyone else.

As much as I love watching dragonflies

zoom across the air and marvel at their

beauty and grace,

because of these past sightings,

they also remind me to rest.

Make rest your destination.

Last Sunday our destination was more

than a beach, it was to spend time as a family.

A lake, a beach or even a backyard could accomplish this goal.

Rest isn’t always an easy road.

There can be many obstacles and detours needed

to find the place of rest.

Seek rest no matter what it looks like.

I think rest is very much off the beaten path.

Eventually I hope rest will become a well-worn trail

for the majority.

If a dragonfly needs rest,

so do you.

Wherever you travel,

may you be filled with

the priceless deposit of rest.

 

making up for lost time

making up for lost time

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I have packed 3 suitcases in 4 weeks.

4 if you count Caleb’s suitcase.

It has been a month worth of trips devoted to celebration of family,

friendship and milestone birthdays.

On either side of the miles traveled,

there have been beautiful meals shared

in terrain where infant pears clung tightly to branches

and bobbing and weaving between bites as

white puffs of cottonwood  filled the

air like cotton candy.

Selfie attempts were warranted and perhaps unsuccessful.

My heart is saturated with people and  conversations

and with unblemished joy of being numbered among so many I cherish.

The sights my eyes have beheld continue to replay in my daydreams and

I marvel at the hushed utterances of such grace, such blessed and sacred

time.

After the bags were unpacked and laundry piles began to subside,

I did what I always do.

I made a list.

A list of all that needed to be done.

You know the list I am talking about.

The list called making up for lost time.

I wanted to accomplish some chores but I also wanted

to rest up and refuel.

Caleb was away visiting his Grands so my week

could be more concentrated on the multitude of tasks before

my eyes.

Each day I crossed off an item or two.

Most mornings, I set a later alarm.

After several days,

I felt more tired than when I stowed away

my luggage.

Then I read this:

Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.
You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.

~Dallas Willard
(as quoted in this book)

Despite my efforts to keep my days one part productive

and the other part relaxation, my pace had been a

hurried rush.

I was trying to make up for lost time.

I live my days if I am always making up for lost time.

But what is lost time?

Would I consider a trip to see family,

lost time?

Would I ever tell a friend,

“Yes, let’s get together for coffee

even though it will mean I am losing

time according to my grand list of to-do’s” ?

No, it is called spending time with others.

It is all about adding priceless gems to our lives,

not squandering it.

There is no such thing as making up for lost time.

Time is continuous and is meant to be spent.

Making up for “lost time” is as futile as trying

to gather sand in your arms.

There is simply today and the minutes

we determine to use in the course of our day.

Seems I recall Jesus saying to let tomorrow take

care of itself.

Don’t hurry.

Don’t worry about that which remains undone.

Caleb comes home today.

(Oh how I miss that boy!)

The last few days have been different.

I have slowed down.

In case, I didn’t get the message, I also have

a troublesome knee which makes me take

each step with care and gratefulness.

So what is your hurry today?

What’s your worry?

There will never been an end to laundry and

cooking and bill paying.

There will be another weed to pull as soon as I loosen

ten roots.

I apologize for stating the facts.

As much as I dream,

I will never read every great book written.

There is today,

a gift to be used and not hoarded.

A gift to be cherished and celebrated.

Spend it well and don’t deem it as

moments that demand being redeemed later.

Simply cash in every second with sweet abandon.

 

photo credit: Carl Washington 

top soil

top soil

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The other night I did a bit of speed gardening.

It probably is just as effective as speed golf.

The light of day will reveal what was hastily planted in twilight.

There were plants from a school plant sale which needed

homes in pots and flower beds but all I have been able

to manage for the past few weeks has been to stick a finger

in the soil to assess their water needs.

My front yard beds looks a bit weary, neglected

until every last nail was pounded into

our new roof.

There are bare spots from plants choosing not to make an appearance.

I circled my fingers around stems and removed the dead leaves

and debris.

I loosened the soil, added top soil and watered.

I suppose looking for his wayward wife,

Carl walked through the driveway gate

and found me looking at the flower bed.

We both agreed it was vastly improved.

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Flowers with emerging blooms seemed to stand straighter.

Heavy bloomers leaned in closer to their supports.

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I am weary and suspect most of us live in a perpetual state of weariness.

This morning I read Matthew 11: 28-30 in two versions.

These verses are so familiar, they can float off our tongues without much effort.

Just like my gardening, I can speed past the words attempting to accomplish

a very necessary task.

This morning, God cleared away the dead stuff in my life through confession.

He circled my frame and added rich nutrient full soil on top of my present

earth foundation.

I stand a little taller and feel His support ever so much.

Jesus wants to carry me and my burdens not only

because He is strong but primarily because He loves me.

He encircles me with enough love to help me rest from all

my labors even those done with minimal light.

My garden will never be completed.

My walk along the various soils of this

earth has yet to be completed either.

I can assure you neither me nor my garden

will be featured in a shiny magazine.

There will be weeds, there will be flowers, there

will be death and there will be life.

Some days turning away from tasks

undone is the best and deepest kind of rest.

The best way to feel loved is by letting

someone with more able hands do the work.

Read and be reminded.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,

and I will give you rest. 

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 

for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls. 

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.*

  *****

Are you tired?

Worn out?

Burned out on religion?

Come to me.

Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.

I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

Walk with me and work with me—

watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.**

*New International Version
**The Message

 

 

rest inventory-final steps

rest inventory-final steps

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It’s Friday and for many a super-sized weekend as well.

I hope this week you have been able to size up rest in all its many

facets, forms and gifts.

I pray there will be a scheduled respite awaiting you,

beckoning your presence by name.

Step Four:

There are no rules.

No one is keeping score, judging or chiding

you for doing rest incorrectly.

This week I have listed many ways to rest and you might

find that not one fits your needs.

Rest in the way which brings refreshment to your soul.

The lives of children are uncluttered.

If you watch their play, they lead with their imaginations.

An adult may enter the scene and attempt to make

constructive suggestions to aid in better play.

Often the children will don puzzled expressions

and return to their brand of play.

Resurrect play into your time of rest.

Abandon the rules of adulthood and

don’t let a well-meaning person thwart your

freedom to express yourself.

Jesus welcomed children.

He welcomed rest as well.

Step Five:

Open your arms wide and embrace the moments.

Most employers don’t want you to rest and for that

matter sometimes the people you live with would

request the same.

Be brave and take time this weekend to rest.

As I have been implementing rest into my week,

I cringe at how awkward I feel mentioning

on a given Sunday I didn’t do much

of anything productive.

I am changing my lingo and standing firm in my

need to rest.

As my words have changed and I have ceased apologizing,

I have noticed others taking note and a breath.

My saying yes to rest has given others permission to do the same.

The truth is people can make our lives easier but they cannot

rest for us.

Only we can rest for ourselves.

Wrap your arms tightly around rest this weekend and share about

it next week.

You might be the catalyst for another weary soldier swinging

in a hammock the following weekend.

Hey Arianna Huffington has nap rooms for her employees,

so you never know!

You look a little tired my friend.

Rest up!

 

 

rest inventory-step three

rest inventory-step three

surrounded-by-books1

 

I am the type of person who takes 5 books along

for a weekend getaway.

Surprised  when not even a single page

has been opened.

I  tend to overestimate my available time.

This mindset brings me to

the next part of our inventory.

Step Three:

Avoid overload by picking a favorite.

When I carry a large tote bag of books with

me on a trip and don’t finish any of them,

all I have accomplished is to drag a heavy load with me.

It isn’t a mystery why I feel defeated by the volume of my

lack of reading.

When we pick 10 different ways we like to rest and attempt

to fit each one into a given time frame, we most likely will

fail and end up even more tired simply trying

to attempt this Herculean feat.

Pick your favorite

be it a nap,

a book,

sitting in the sun,

doing a crossword puzzle,

playing with your grandchildren,

stargazing,

scattering sunflower seeds,

or sneaking in a spontaneous matinée.

Pick the time.

Enjoy your favorite way to rest.

Start small and commend yourself for

the stellar care you are taking of one

of God’s favorite people…

YOU.

**photo credit

 

 

rest inventory-step two

rest inventory-step two

wpid-20140518_232519.jpg

 

Have you positioned a Post-It note with your marching orders

for rest in clear view?

I hope so.

If not, keep mulling over what brings rest into your hours.

Yesterday I wrote that today would be about digging holes.

To me, this is the best type of digging as it doesn’t requite gloves or a shovel

or even dirt for that matter.

Step Two:

Scour your week’s calendar for holes.

Whether you manually fill out a paper calendar or one resides

on an electronic device or you use a combination of the two,

assess the week ahead.

Is your weekend extra full or does it resemble a land of wide open spaces?

Will it be necessary to find rest in small time segments or

do you have the option of most of a day?

Each week will look differently.

Decide what type of activities you would like to add to your calendar

pertaining to rest.

Enter it into your calendar as a necessary appointment.

Think you might forget?

Schedule a reminder in your phone.

Some weeks, you might be able to schedule a round of golf whereas

another week may only allow a putting green, a driving range

or grabbing the putter and hitting the ball from each end of your living room.

I am not seeing a lot of unfilled squares on my calendar for the next month.

I can either acknowledge this reality with a sigh and a sense of dread or

I can accept this busy season and make a plan.

I carry a book with me so if I am surprised by unexpected time,

I can read a few pages.

I am preparing simple meals and I am saying no to adding one more item

on my full plate.

I am also trying to not look at multitasking as a virtue.

There will be weeks when you don’t have a spare moment.

Might I suggest doing one thing at a time?

Drive without the headset and the radio on.

Watch a television show without checking emails at the same time.

Lower the volume on the music playing so you are not yelling

to be heard in conversation.

I wonder if we are exhausted at day’s end because

we never let our brains (as intricate and wonderful as they are)

ever take a break.

I like listening to podcasts while I cook dinner.

If I have cooked without burning myself or something in the

oven and fully heard the recording,

even though my mind is engaged, I feel at rest.

However if after several minutes, I realize I haven’t heard a single

word, it is time to turn off the podcast

due to my mind being weary.

Zoning out doesn’t equal rest,

it reveals fatigue.

Check your calendars and find some resting

spots to land on this week.